I'm 14 and would like to switch doctors because I have been seeing a pediatrician. At what age do most people switch? How do I do it?
There's no set age for making switching from a pediatrician to an adult doctor — it can be whenever a person feels ready. Most pediatricians stop seeing patients somewhere between the ages of 18 and 21, so you'll need to make the switch eventually. Now is a good time to take the first step and start getting involved in making decisions about your health.
Pediatricians are trained to treat teens, so it's perfectly fine to continue to see your pediatrician as long as you feel comfortable. However, some people find it harder to connect with their childhood doctors as they get older. It's not easy to talk about serious topics like gyn exams if you have a doc who still thinks it's cute to tickle your belly and hand out Spongebob stickers. If you think you've outgrown your pediatrician, talk to your parents about making a switch.
Since there's so much going on health-wise during our teen years, you may want to see a health care provider who specializes in caring for teens. Adolescent medicine specialists have extra training in the medical and emotional issues that many teens face. Visit the Society for Adolescent Medicine's website. They have a database to help people find an adolescent health professional.
Can't find an adolescent medicine specialist in your area? Don't worry — family practitioners, internists, or ob/gyns can help you too. Ask your parents or older siblings to suggest doctors, or get recommendations from your school nurse.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: April 2012
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
|American Medical Association (AMA) The AMA has made a commitment to medicine by making doctors more accessible to their patients. Contact the AMA at: American Medical Association|
515 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60610
|Society for Adolescent Medicine The Society for Adolescent Medicine is committed to advancing the health and well-being of adolescents. Their site also offers a locator for adolescent health professionals.|
|Adolescent Health Transition Project This is a health and transition resource for adolescents with special health care needs, chronic illnesses, and physical or developmental disabilities.|
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.|
|Adolescent Medicine Specialists Adolescent medicine doctors are specialists who have extra training in the medical and emotional issues that many teens face.|
|Questions to Ask Your Doctor You're probably used to answering your doctor's questions - not asking your own. But it's your body, so you should be able to ask your doctor questions about anything you'd like. Here are some ideas to get you started.|
|Gyn Checkups Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit -- and why most girls don't get internal exams.|
|Electronic Health Records Because EHRs improve how well your doctors talk to each other and coordinate your treatment, they can enhance your overall care. This article gives the facts on electronic health records.|
|Choosing Your Own Doctor We all deserve a doc who helps us feel comfortable and understood – and who can guide our medical care in a way we need. Get tips on finding the best doctor for you.|
|Primary Care Doctors: Who's Who A primary care physician is your first stop for medical care. Find out more about the primary care doctors who treat teens.|
|Is a Gynecologist the Same as a Primary Care Doctor? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|What Can I Expect From the Gynecologist? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Finding Low-Cost Medical Care If you need medical care but don't think you can afford it, you're not alone. Get tips on finding low-cost or free care in this article for teens.|
|Talking to Your Doctor Your best resource for health information and advice is your doctor - the person who knows you, your medical history, and accurate medical information to answer your questions.|
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